Edouard Manet (1832-1883) <BR>
Jeune femme au livre <BR>
Edouard Manet (1832-1883)
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Edouard Manet (1832-1883)

Jeune femme au livre

Edouard Manet (1832-1883)
Jeune femme au livre
stamped with initials 'E.M.' (Lugt 880; lower right)
oil on canvas
9 5/8 x 12¾ in. (24.5 x 32.4 cm.)
Painted circa 1875
Estate of the artist; sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 4-5 February 1884, lot 32.
Léon Leenhoff, Paris (acquired at the above sale).
Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Paris (circa 1902).
André Wormser, Paris (circa 1926).
E. Moreau-Nélaton, Unpublished manuscript of catalogue of Manet's works, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, n.d., no. 208.
T. Duret, Manet and the French Impressionists, London, 1910, p. 237, no. 179.
T. Duret, Histoire de Edouard Manet et de son oeuvre, Paris, 1926, p. 260, no. 179.
A. Tabarant, Manet: Histoire catalographique, Paris, 1931, pp. 285 and 582, no. 230 (dated 1875).
P. Jamot and G. Wildenstein, Manet, Paris, 1932, vol. I, p. 150, no. 248 (illustrated).
A. Tabarant, Manet et son oeuvre, Paris, 1947, pp. 273-274 and 540, no. 248 (illustrated, p. 611).
"Les objets de qualité se placent d'eux-mêmes" in Connaissance des arts, May 1961, p. 72 (illustrated).
M. Venturi and S. Orienti, L'Opera pittorica di Edouard Manet, Milan, 1967, p. 105, no. 210 (illustrated).
M. Bodelsen, "Early Impressionist Sales, 1874-1894, in the light of some unpublished process-verbaux" in Burlington Magazine, June 1968, p. 343.
D. Rouart and S. Orienti, Tout l'oeuvre peint d'Edouard Manet, Paris, 1970, p. 105, no. 211 (illustrated, fig. 211).
D. Rouart and D. Wildenstein, Edouard Manet: Catalogue raisonné, Lausanne, 1975, vol. I, p. 196, no. 239 (illustrated, fig. 239).
Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Exposition d'oeuvres de Manet au profit des "amis du Luxembourg," April-May 1928, p. 15, no. 41 (titled Femme étendue sur un canapé).
Fuchu Art Museum and Nara, Prefectural Museum of Art, Edouard Manet, July-November 2001, pp. 149, 174 and 220, no. 56 (illustrated in color, p. 85).

Lot Essay

Alphonse Tabarant (op. cit., 1931, p. 285) suggested that the young woman who sat for this study in Manet's studio might be the daughter of the painter Edmond Alphonse André, a friend of Manet and a member of the his Café Guerbois circle. In 1873 André served as the model for Manet's four versions of the commedia dell'arte character Polichinelle: a watercolor, an oil study, the finished painting, and a color lithograph (Wildenstein, nos. 563, 212, 213 and Guerin, no. 79; both oil paintings sold at Christie's, New York: 27 May 1983, lot 3; and 8 November 1999, lot 136). André worked mainly in genre subjects and specialized in meticulously prepared military scenes; but he also painted landscapes and marines that display a freer, more fluid approach to handling that Manet might have appreciated. Both artists had paintings in the official Salon of 1875: André sent Devant Patay, depicting a unit of Zouaves engaged in the Loire campaign during the Franco-Prussian War, while Manet showed Argenteuil, his now famous painting of a boatman seated beside his female companion, painted in 1874 (Wildenstein, no. 221; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Tournai).

Nothing is known about Mlle André, but one may surmise that in or around 1875 she accompanied her father on a visit to Manet's studio, during which the Salon may have figured in the men's conversation, while Manet took the opportunity to paint this casual, impromptu but succinct study of this young woman, seen seated and holding a book or folio on her lap. We know that the sitter did not depart with the painting, because it was included in the vente Manet of 1884. Jeune femme au livre comes across as being less a specific portrait of a person than it is a master painter's adroit study in contrasts, of light and dark, between the light-filled space behind the sitter, where sunlight is seen coming through Manet's studio window, and the striking blue-black silhouette formed by her dress and hair.

The first Impressionist group exhibition had taken place in April-May 1874. Although Manet choose not to participate, and never would show with the Impressionists lest he compromise his independence, he worked that summer alongside Monet and Renoir on the Seine at Argenteuil, where like them he painted en plein air, and in the process lightened his palette and leaned toward a freer, more broken brush-stroke in order to better capture the fugitive qualities of light and the immediate instant of perception. Executed a year or so later, Jeune femme au livre reveals how completely Manet had incorporated these developments into his method, which laid the foundation for the expressive, improvisatory handling characteristic of his late style. Some elements in this painting anticipate the portrait Manet painted in 1876 of the poet Stéphane Mallarmé: the accessory of the open book, the light source falling on the sitter's right side, dark clothes set against a lighter background, and, coincidently, the use of the same large cushion to make the sitter comfortable (Wildenstein, no. 249; fig. 1).

Manet's Jeune femme au livre was formerly in the collection of the French banker André Wormser. In 1926 Wormser commissioned Edouard Vuillard to paint a group portrait of his wife Olga (née Boris) and their four children (Salomon & Cogeval XI-255; National Gallery, London). Vuillard completed the painting in 1927, and reworked it in 1930. The Wormser family posed in the drawing room of their Paris residence; the walls behind them were hung with various pictures in their collection, each faithfully noted and rendered by Vuillard in his painting, including works by Monet, Degas, Renoir, Roussel, and at the upper left edge, Manet's Jeune femme au livre.

(fig. 1) Edouard Manet, Portrait de Stephane Mallarmé, 1876. Musée d'Orsay, Paris.

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